Yesterday was my former boss’ last day at the job after working here for 11 years. Instead of getting him a large comical card that everyone in the office signs (we have multiple offices around the globe) we decided to create a web page where employees could sign a virtual wall, as well as view embarrassing photos of our boss. I turned to my trusty framework Django and Twitters Bootstrap to get the job done quickly and easily.
Working for a Small Company
While there’s nothing wrong working for a large software company, you often don’t have the same freedoms as you would when your team is smaller. At Gap Adventures my team has two programmers, myself and one other. Whenever we need to make decisions on which way to go we turn around, talk about it for a few minutes and then carry out what we decided. In a large company you often have to go through multiple layers of management before you can ever come to a decision.
Working in a smaller company also always you to use the latest technologies. You’re not stuck with ancient DB2 databases running on archaic servers. When I want to test out a new server stack I fire up a virtual machine, test it out and then if I like it I can quickly push that into production. As long as it works better for the company I have total control.
I wouldn’t have been able to pull off the page for Wiz so quickly if I had to go through many layers of management to get the go ahead.
Django makes it incredibly easy to prototype and then push to production. Need a new application? Fire up a new VM, build your environment, setup a new project and you’re ready to go. If you have the build scripts you can have a totally fresh environment in under 15 minutes. Django handles all the database connections, URL routing and template generating stuff so you can worry about the functionality you want to build.
I built the entire app, including the design in under 4 hours. I just wouldn’t have been able to do this as quickly without a framework.
Open Source Software
Open Source is fantastic. It makes building stuff incredibly easy when you can use something someone else has written and you don’t have start from scratch for absolutely everything. I’m by no means a designer and for Wiz’s project I knew I would need a relatively good design. I started with Twitters Bootstrap framework. I had a decent page going in under 30 minutes because of it. I didn’t have to waste time defining my own CSS classes or anything of the like.